For this month’s reading suggestions, we have compiled a list of books from four of our recent featured writers — all of different genres, and set in different parts of the world.
If you are stay-cationing this year, we hope one of these books will transport you for a while to a different place — and all for a fraction of the cost of a plane ticket.
Our featured writer in April, Tony Roberts spent his childhood in Saudi Arabia and Iran before the Islamic revolution forced him and his family back to their hometown in Kansas — which, to Tony, no longer seemed like home.
Now living in Hawai’i with his New Zealand wife and their son, Tony has published his first novel, Sons of the Great Satan. It tells the story of the friendship between two teenagers — one American, one Iranian — in the last hours before the fall of the Shah of Iran.
“SONS OF THE GREAT SATAN is a tale of culture clash, international politics, heroism, friendship, cowardice and sinister betrayal. The character and beliefs of the Shah of Iran, President Jimmy Carter and the Ayatollah Khomeini are all put to the test as the whirlwind of chaos engulfs them all. The actions of these powerful men play out on the world stage and forever change the lives of those who called Tehran home in the late 1970s.”
Third Culture Kid Shireen Jilla (half English, half Persian, and grew up in Germany, Holland and England) currently lives in London after being an expat in Paris, Rome, and New York.
Commenting on our May 7th article, Shireen said, “New York is a material fantasy that most wannabe expats have had. People imagine it to be an adventure laced only with IPad2s and lychee martinis. But, as many of you know, stepping outside your own cultural comfort zone is never as straight forward as those people, longing for it from the comfort of their three-piece sofa in the suburbs, imagine. So I choose to write about Anna, an eager expat looking for experience, but finding she sucked into a cultural nightmare that she neither could control, or understand.”
“In love with her husband Jessie, an ambitious British diplomat, whose first posting brings them to New York, Anna begins the hectic, enjoyable life of a successful expat. But New York also brings her into contact with her husband’s manipulative and competitive stepmother Nancy, a powerful American socialite and philanthropist. When a silly incident with her only son Josh involves the Police Department, Anna’s seemingly perfect world begins to shatter. As Jessie’s journey to rediscover his New York roots draws him closer to Nancy, terrible and strange things keep happening to Anna. She begins to fear that someone is out to destroy her family.”
Our second featured writer in May, Corine Gantz has just released her debut novel about a group of American women who try to start new lives in Paris.
A displaced Parisian in Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband and two sons, Corine blogs at Hidden in France.
When bankruptcy threatens her beloved house, her one anchor in life, Annie has no choice but to find renters, and quick. Leave it to someone socially phobic to phrase a want ad in all the wrong ways. With shimmering promises of ‘Starting over in Paris’ –– a concept she has no intention of applying to her own life––Annie attracts tenants with the kind of baggage that doesn’t fit in suitcases.
The last book on today’s list is by Janet Brown, whom we featured on June 10th.
In the article, Janet said: “My parents turned me into a gypsy before I was two, by taking me on their journey by jeep from New York City to Alaska when the 49th state was still a territory and the Alcan Highway was still an unpaved trail into the frozen north. I have wandered ever since, most recently in Southeast Asia with Bangkok as my home, writing down the stories I encounter as I explore.”
“From her first bewildered hours to the moment that she reluctantly leaves, Janet Brown describes her experience of falling in love with, and in, Thailand’s largest city. Nana Chen’s evocative photographs provide illustrations of daily living in Bangkok.”
BC Magazine review:
“Janet Brown’s experiences in Thailand are chronicled in short essays that bypass the usual tourist spots and concepts and present an intimate and revealing understanding of Bangkok and the Thai way of life from a female foreigner’s fascinated point of view.”
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Ho’ omaika’i ‘Ana to TCK writer Tony Roberts
Expat life as psychological thriller? An unholy appreciation of novelist Shireen Jilla